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Understanding Your U.S. Visa Debit Card

When your cross-border travel takes you to the U.S. – whether it’s for an extended stay or for a weekend shopping excursion – you may need to make in-store purchases, access cash and/or transfer funds.  With a U.S. debit card, these transactions are simple; however, there are some important facts about a U.S. debit card that you’ll need to know.

First, even though a U.S. debit card carries the Visa logo, this is not a credit card.  The amount of any purchase on a debit card, even a card with the Visa logo, will be deducted from your U.S. checking account. 

U.S. debit cards allow you to: 

  1. Make in-store purchases or online purchases wherever Visa is accepted, and
  2. Access cash and transfer funds at ATM locations.

One unique feature and key advantage of U.S. debit cards is the liability protection they offer to the cardholder.  Through federal regulations and Visa policies, most U.S. debit cards protect cardholders from the liability that arises from fraudulent use of theft.

There are certain things that U.S. debit cards do not do, including:

  • Earn points for purchases
  • Require a PIN to complete credit transactions.  With a U.S. debit card you can select “credit” on an in-store terminal when making a purchase and only your signature will be required.  Again, even when selecting “credit” if you use your debit card the funds will be deducted from your U.S. checking account.
  • Hold personal or account information that can be scanned at bank locations.

When using a U.S. debit card, you should have with you photo identification as you may be asked to present this at the point-of-sale.  Some merchants (especially gas stations) will also require a U.S. zip code verification for transaction approval.

Understanding the advantages and differences of a U.S. debit card can help to simplify your financial needs while traveling or staying in the States.



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